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Study finds Latino, Indigenous voters more likely to be dropped from Arizona early voting list

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Ryan Heinsius/KNAU
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A new study from the Brennan Center for Justice finds that Latino and Native American voters in Arizona are at a disproportionately higher risk of being dropped from the state’s mail-in ballot list.

Latino and Native American voters in Arizona are at a disproportionately higher risk of being dropped from the state’s mail-in ballot list. That’s according to a new study examining the fallout from recent changes made to the state’s early voting system used by two-thirds of the electorate.

An Arizona bill signed into law last year allows the state to remove voters from the list to automatically receive a mail-in ballot if they haven’t voted that way in four years. While SB 1485 hasn’t yet gone into effect, critics have called the Republican-backed law an attempt at voter suppression.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, about 340,000 Arizonans are in danger of being dropped from the early voting list, and about half are from Latino and other communities of color. But Indigenous voters in the state are about twice as likely to be removed compared to early voters statewide.

If a voter is dropped from the mail-in list they’ll receive a notice and can either re-join or vote in person. But mail delivery can be unreliable, especially on Indigenous lands, and the Brennan study says people could miss the notifications.

Supporters of the changes to Arizona’s early voting list, including Governor Doug Ducey, say it streamlines voting and makes elections more secure.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a frequent contributor to NPR.